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How Decathlon, Asos, Mulberry and Aldi are making their businesses more sustainable UPDATED

Image courtesy of Decathlon

With sustainability now a priority for many shoppers, Top500 retailers are innovating to cut their carbon footprints. Asos, Decathlon, Mulberry and Aldi are the latest to unveil new initiatives.

Asos to deliver customers’ ‘preloved’ clothing to charity shops

Asos customers who are expecting a delivery from the retailer can opt to donate the clothes they no longer want to a charity shop using the DPD delivery service.

DPD ReLove got underway as charity shops reopened last week, with Asos offering it at launch. Shoppers can use the YourDPD app to donate their preloved clothing to one of five charities when they are expecting a DPD delivery. DPD then collects the parcel when they drop off the delivery, either from the customer or the customer’s prearranged safe place, and sends it on the charity, whether Scope, Marie Curie, The British Red Cross or more. The partnership aims to give shoppers a more responsible option to dispose of their secondhand clothing, diverting them from landfill. 

Patrik Silén, chief strategy officer at Asos, says: “Our focus has always been on providing our customers with an outstanding retail experience, and a key element of that is giving them opportunities to shop with us more responsibly. We know that our customers are very active in donating their pre-loved clothing and that they see it as a great way of keeping products in use and out of landfill, so partnering with DPD on the ReLove initiative is a natural fit for us. We’re proud to be joining forces with the team to drive sustainable solutions and look forward to seeing our customers’ response over the coming weeks.”

Olly Craughan, DPD’s head of CSR says: “DPD leads the way on sustainability in the delivery space and I’m incredibly proud of the team for getting behind initiatives like this. We are continuing to invest in the decarbonisation of our fleet, but the challenge is about much more than just buying electric vehicles. We want to go a lot further. It is about pushing ourselves to look at every aspect of our operation to find the green alternative and the smarter way of doing things. 

ReLove is another way for us to help cut carbon emissions, reduce waste and raise money for charities at the same time. It is also great to team up with Asos on another really smart solution for their customers. We’re already delivering to these addresses, so it means one less trip and less miles travelled overall. The DPD app now has over nine million users, and it has become a really powerful tool for us. It plays a key role in helping us deliver a fantastic service for customers and it is driving innovation like this.”

Asos is a Leading retailer in RXUK Top500 research.

Decathlon Second Life 

Decathlon is repairing and recycling used sports equipment for sale online and in its shops through its Second Life project. The retailer, ranked Top150 in RXUK Top500 research, will initially mean see technicians repair and refurbish project from bikes, scooters and fitness equipment to tents, before grading them between A (light marks) and D (replacement parts used) and selling them at a discount of between 10% and 40%. Decathlon hopes to save 40,000kg of CO2 in 12 months through the project. 

Nick Connell, project leader of the Decathlon Second Life project in the UK, says: “Our planet is worth protecting and we all need to accelerate in taking action to reduce our environmental impact. As a business with big production demands we have to act now. By recycling, repairing and reusing products we’re adding another key action to our wider sustainability project.

“At the same time we need to fulfil our company purpose to provide everyone in the UK with access to happier and healthier lifestyles, whether that be physically or financially. Therefore Second Life will benefit both our planet and our customers’ pockets.”

Eric Mazillier, chief executive of Decathlon UK, says the move is “an important first step in the changing approach to our business model we are assessing what it really means to create value in society and our local communities.”

Decathlon UK sells online and through more than 40 shops. Its parent company was founded in 1976 in Lille, France. 

Mulberry launches Made to Last sustainability manifesto

Mulberry has unveiled its Made to Last manifesto, with a commitment to transform the business to a circular model by 2030 – and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2035. 

The luxury leather goods brand is pledging to create a local, transparent supply chain model that shows how its goods were produced, starting at the farm. It says it will work with organic and environmentally conscious farms to develop the world’s lowest carbon leather, and that it will extend the life of Mulberry products through repair and restoration before buying back, reselling or repurposing any Mulberry bag. Its final ambition is to become a real living wage employer by working with its suppliers to ensure that they do the same. 

As part of this, the Mulberry Exchange is now going digital, selling restored items online, while a partnership with Vestiaire Collective will focus on resale as part of Mulberry’s circularity strategy. 

Mulberry chief executive Thierry Andretta says: “At Mulberry we have already taken significant action to embed sustainability across our business, but today we offer our commitment to a programme of transformative change, embedding principles of regeneration and circularity across our entire supply chain. We are committed to creating a local, transparent ’farm to finished product’ sourcing model and whilst we are at the beginning of this transition, I am immensely proud of my colleagues and the work done to launch the Made to Last Manifesto. We look forward to the challenges ahead.”

Mulberry is a Top250 retailer in RXUK Top500 research.

Aldi trials packaging-free products

Supermarket Aldi is testing whether its shoppers will buy staple products loose as it launches its first packaging-free groceries trial. Shoppers at its Ulverton, Cumbria shop can now buy basmati and brown rice, penne pasta, and wholewheat fusilli pasta loose. Customers can use free recyclable paper bags to take the staples away as the discount supermarket looks to see if there is any appetite for this way of selling. If there is, Aldi says it could remove more than 130 tonnes of plastic from its stores each year.  Last year, it said it would halve its plastic packaging by 2025, removing 74,000 tonnes of packaging from products over the next five years. 

Richard Gorman, plastics and packaging director at Aldi, said: “Customers at our Ulverston store can now buy the same high-quality items they know and love, while also cutting down on plastic packaging.

“We’re always looking for new ways to reduce waste plastic and limit packaging, as many of our shoppers are increasingly conscious of the environment and their impact on it. We hope local customers embrace the trial and we will use their feedback to inform any future plans around refillable products.”

Aldi, a Top50 retailer in RXUK Top500 research, says it has been carbon neutral since January 2019 and now aims to package its own label products in recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2022, and branded products by 2025.

This piece was updated on Tuesday April 20 following the release of Mulberry’s new sustainability initiative.

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